How To Structure A Good Singing Practice Session
A Guest Post by Rowen Bridler
Most of my clients’ original singing practice session structure went something like this:
1) Take a deep breath
2) Sing through a song
3) Sing through the song again
They then came to me wondering why their singing wasn’t ‘up to scratch’.
It’s a common problem that most people face – having to be a bit disciplined and organised about something. The great news is, you only have to get consistently organised about one or two things and then you’re going to find it much easier to add a few more as necessary.
For example, if you have a regular exercise regime, even if that’s only – go for a run on Mondays and Thursdays in the morning before work – that’s something to rely on and work with. The same simplicity can be applied to your singing practice. At least, to get started. We all want to save time, and the only way to do that is to be super-effective with our time. (Yeah, I know that sounds horribly business-y, but it’s kind of true. Sorry.) So, how about on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you try this:
1) Have a cup of (herbal) tea
2) Stand up straight, take a deep breath and sing a long note
3) Work through more basic singing exercises such as scales (see the ‘Essential Singing Exercises’ audio training on my shop page) for about 20-30 minutes
4) Get out a copy of the lyrics of a song you want to sing
5) Listen to the beginning of the first verse and work on each line, one at a time and then two together, then all four lines (or whatever it is) in one go. Note where you need to take a breath by drawing a big V shape at the necessary point in the lyrics you have in front of you.
6) Record yourself singing this verse (on your phone or laptop, iPad or whatever, it doesn’t have to be superb quality)
7) Listen back to it and note the things you need to improve
8) Sing the bits you need to improve about 3-5 times over trying different ways to approach the high note or sing more smoothly, according to what needs correcting
9) Sing the whole verse again – note how you’ve improved!
10) Sing the whole thing through now – just to HAVE FUN with it.
11) Make a note of the parts of the song you’ll need to go over and improve on in your next session
The idea of this process is to hone in on the bits of any song or aspect of singing that needs improving and work on those first, then come back to singing the whole thing and having fun with it. It makes it both more efficient, and more enjoyable this way because you get over the boring part of being frustrated with the bit of the song that doesn’t sound as good, much quicker.
Try it for yourself. Let me know how you get on!
Rowen Bridler is a singer-songwriter, actress and voice coach. She lives in Prague in the Czech Republic but works with clients all over the globe via Skype. She specialises in coaching actors and singers with an issue with a song or speech that needs fixing, or a performance to prepare for, using simple and systematic techniques to target problem areas quickly. She is currently working on a Danish film,’1864′, where she plays Johanna von Bismarck, speaking in German. She has a ‘minisongs’ series of short 15 second videos of her own songs on Tout, which she releases every Friday. In her spare time, she can be found wearing Cookie Monster t-shirts and pearls and reading old copies of Vogue.